On 26th December, 2004, a massive earthquake was recorded in the Indian Ocean. 9.3 on reactor scale, the earthquake was the second largest quake in the history. And then it was turn of a Tsunami, which came with havoc and devastation causing huge damages to life and property in nearby regions. Located in the heart of Bay of Bengal, Andaman & Nicobar Islands was one of the places who were adversely affected by this disaster. For a small territory, which was just learning to shape up, it was like a rope-cut attack. The economy of the Island fell down sharply due to heavy impacts of the cataclysm on tourism properties, assets and infrastructure. Many tourist facilities including hotels, resorts and amusement parks were destroyed, followed by negative impacts the employment, revenues and overall economy of the Union Territory. The worst in all, the adverse publicity generated by media reports and news channels created a fear psychosis among tourists, which resulted in less tourism influx to the island.
For Andaman economy, which is highly dominated by tourism and the associated industries, it was the biggest shock. And that's why necessary steps were taken to command over the situation. The Indian Government too didn't make any mistake and came in action soon. For the revival and promotion of tourism, several effective measures were opted for. A few among them are:
• Establishment of marinas at port Blair, Mayabunder and in Nicobar district to facilitate berthing of large cruise liners so as attract more and more tourists to Andaman. Apart from that, several sea planes and aircraft were introduced to connect the islands.
• Water sports complexes were brought in to existence with advance facilities like dining, shopping and accommodation. Additionally, a golf course at port Blair, shopping malls with multiplexes, high quality plasma panel displays and four tourist submarines were launched to promote tourism at the Island.
• To ensure smooth connectivity to the Island, direct flights to port Blair from many important destinations like Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata were introduced. Today, most of the domestic airlines including Sahara, Air India, Deccan and Kingfisher offer flight services to the island.
• Additional civilian airports were opened in both Andaman and Nicobar regions for landing of domestic and International flights frequently.
• Indian Government with collaboration of Andaman Tourism Authority has been promoting the island as a thriving eco-tourism destination. Numerous CDs and films have been produced to create awareness among eco-tourists around the world. Apart from that, easy tourism Visa policies and facilities of long term Restricted Area Permits for people related tourism Industry have been offered to promote the island tourism.
• Introduction and promotion of water sports facilities, wildlife tours and other adventure trips to invite avid explorers.
Nowadays many travel agency offer Andaman packages, making a delightful Andaman tour accessible to everyone. Searching online, you find a variety of tour packages for varying needs and budgets of travelers.